Power Rankings: Who is on top at the halfway point?

play
American League teams dominating Power Rankings (1:46)

The Baseball Tonight crew discusses the dominant teams in the American League and how the Braves are becoming the class of the National League. (1:46)

While things were tighter just a few weeks ago, the voters were unanimous this week in picking the Astros as baseball's No. 1 team in ESPN.com's MLB Power Rankings after 13 weeks of regular-season baseball. But just because Houston is riding high doesn't mean clubs aren't making their own moves within our rankings.

For starters, while the Yankees and Red Sox remain knotted up atop the AL East and just a step below the Astros, and while the Cubs might be rooted in place for the time being at No. 4 as the favorite to rule the roost in the National League, we have a new entry in the top five, with the Indians making their move up to No. 5. Cleveland's combo of star power in both the lineup and the rotation buys a lot of faith it'll resolve its issues with injuries and in the bullpen. And though the top 10 comprised the same teams this week, the Mariners made a big comeback within baseball's top third by advancing three spots, while the Braves' three-slot drop might have been punishment for losing series to both the Reds and Orioles before sweeping the Cardinals this past weekend.

This week's biggest gain in the rankings was made by the Athletics, who moved four spots to finish just outside the top 10, and by the Rays, who also gained four slots while climbing north of .500 for the first time in a month. The biggest drop was suffered by the Rockies, who lost five rungs in the rankings after an 11-16 June pushed them outside of the pack of teams bidding to win the NL West.

This week, our panel of voters is composed of David Schoenfield, Eric Karabell, Tim Kurkjian, Bradford Doolittle and Sarah Langs.

Week 12 rankings | Week 11 | Week 10 | Week 9 | Week 8 | Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Preseason

1. Houston Astros

Record: 55-31
Week 12 ranking: 1

The official halfway point of the season came this past week, and the Astros' pitchers broke their own MLB record with 853 strikeouts through 81 games, according to Elias Sports Bureau research. The Astros' plus-173 run differential through 81 games ranks fifth in AL history and best since the 1939 Yankees. Houston had won 11 straight road games, tying the franchise record, before losing three in a row at Tampa over the weekend. The Astros lead the majors with a 30-14 record on the road this season. -- Jacob Nitzberg, ESPN Stats & Information


2. New York Yankees

Record: 54-27
Week 12 ranking: 2

CC Sabathia is working on one of his best starts to a season since joining the Yankees in 2009. His 3.02 ERA is his best through June in any of his 10 seasons in New York. But Sabathia's success has been streaky. Over his first five starts, he posted an ERA of 1.71. He stalled over his next five, as his ERA in May was 5.92, but he rebounded in June with an ERA of 1.93. -- Dan McCarthy, ESPN Stats & Information


3. Boston Red Sox

Record: 56-29
Week 12 ranking: 3

Rafael Devers has put his stamp on the rivalry between Boston and New York. After a game-tying home run off Aroldis Chapman in the Bronx last season, Devers had a 5-for-5 game, including a grand slam, Saturday. Devers had a hot June for Boston, slugging .510 with 18 RBIs, just behind J.D. Martinez for the team lead for the month (20). -- McCarthy


4. Chicago Cubs

Record: 47-35
Week 12 ranking: 4

The Cubs scored at least 10 runs in four straight games this week and got back to their winning ways. It was a huge week for Javier Baez, who has eight extra-base hits and 11 RBIs since Monday -- while also welcoming a child into the world. Baez is in the midst of a breakout offensive season, as he has an outside shot of becoming the second player in Cubs history with a 30-homer, 30-steal season (which Sammy Sosa did in both 1993 and 1995). -- Kenneth Woolums, ESPN Stats & Information


5. Cleveland Indians

Record: 45-37
Week 12 ranking: 6

With Carlos Carrasco already on the mend, the Indians can be grateful they got a chance to see Shane Bieber earn his keep with three strong starts during his absence. But while the rotation has had the depth to deal with setbacks. the bullpen remains in ruins with Andrew Miller and Nick Goody on the shelf. The bullpen's collective 5.17 ERA ranks 28th in the majors, bettering only the Royals and Rockies. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com


6. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 48-35
Week 12 ranking: 5

Milwaukee suffered a big loss when Lorenzo Cain was placed on the disabled list with a groin strain. Cain leads all NL position players in WAR (3.9) this season. To make matters worse, Christian Yelich left Thursday's game after the first inning with a back injury and missed the weekend series. Picking up the slack on offense has been Jesus Aguilar, who hit 10 home runs in June, tied for most in the NL, and led the NL with 24 RBIs in the month. -- Nitzberg


7. Seattle Mariners

Record: 54-31
Week 12 ranking: 10

The Mariners continue to hold their own in the only division that sports four teams with winning records. The Mariners' run differential is only plus-22 (compared to plus-170 for the Astros), but they continue to excel in close games. Seattle has 26 one-run victories, by far the most in the majors, and is a perfect 8-0 in extra-inning games. -- Paul Casella, ESPN Stats & Information


8. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 47-37
Week 12 ranking: 8

The Snakes tied for the MLB lead in wins in June with an NL-best 19, but the Giants (18) and Dodgers (17) finished directly behind them. One factor to consider in the Snakes' up-and-down season: They have just a .698 OPS at home this season, 24th in the majors and worst among NL contenders, though Chase Field is historically one of the better hitters' parks. Count Paul Goldschmidt among those who might want the humidor retired, considering his .698/1.081 home/road split in OPS. -- Kahrl


9. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 44-39
Week 12 ranking: 9

With Joc Pederson and Max Muncy leading the way with 10 homers apiece, the Dodgers hit a record-tying 55 home runs in June, matching the National League's highest single-month total for going yard by the Braves in May 2003 and the Cardinals in April 2000. Per Sarah Langs' research, the AL record for a month is higher still -- 58 blasts, set by the 1987 Orioles and the 1997 Mariners. -- Kahrl


10. Atlanta Braves

Record: 48-34
Week 12 ranking: 7

The Braves probably weren't expecting to drop five of seven games against the Blue Jays, Orioles and Reds heading into this weekend, but they rebounded with two dominating wins in St. Louis to capture the first series in a daunting, 10-game road trip against the Cardinals, Yankees and Brewers. Ronald Acuna Jr. made his much-anticipated return from the DL, hitting his first home run since his injury in the Braves' win Saturday. -- Woolums


11. Oakland Athletics

Record: 46-39
Week 12 ranking: 15

Two bats bounced back in June to help fuel the A's surge in the standings -- Matt Olson ripped nine of the team's 43 home runs on the month, while Stephen Piscotty produced a team-best .899 OPS. Throw in Edwin Jackson winning his second A's start to notch a victory with a record-tying 11th team, and Oakland's bid to catch up in the AL wild-card race is getting help from all corners of the roster. -- Kahrl


12. Washington Nationals

Record: 42-40
Week 12 ranking: 11

As the season wears on, it becomes increasingly clear that this Nationals team really might not win the NL East. It has had a roller-coaster season, with a .448 winning percentage in March/April, an MLB-best .741 winning percentage in May, then a 26th-ranked .360 winning percentage in June. In June, the Nats were shut out seven times, the most times in a calendar month in franchise history, according to Elias Sports Bureau research. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information


13. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 42-40
Week 12 ranking: 14

The Cardinals' home run leader is Matt Carpenter with 15. That's a far cry from where the Cardinals' home run totals were 20 years ago around this time. Entering July in 1998, Mark McGwire led the majors with 37 home runs, with Ken Griffey Jr. and Sammy Sosa tied for second with 33 each. McGwire had 37 at the All-Star break that year, the most for any Cardinals player in the first half since the first All-Star Game in 1933. Will St. Louis' top home run duo reach the 37 mark combined by this year's break? -- Langs


14. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 45-37
Week 12 ranking: 13

The Phillies won at a .571 clip in March and April, which tied for 10th in the majors -- quite an unexpected turn of events for a team most didn't expect to compete until at least next year. They followed that up by posting a .577 winning percentage in May, which was tied for seventh. But then June hit, and the above-.500 records stopped. The Phillies went 13-14 in June, a .481 winning percentage. One positive from the month? Rhys Hoskins' return and resurgence. He hit eight home runs in 20 June games after returning from the DL, after hitting six homers in 52 games to start the season. -- Langs


15. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 43-42
Week 12 ranking: 12

The Angels just can't catch a break. Mike Trout continues to put together his best season yet, but it's looking increasingly likely that this will not be the season he finally wins his first career postseason game. The Angels lost two more pitchers to season-ending injuries this week -- John Lamb will undergo Tommy John surgery, and Jake Jewell suffered a broken fibula. Los Angeles players have had 20 disabled list stints this season, the most in the majors. -- Casella


16. San Francisco Giants

Record: 45-40
Week 12 ranking: 18

The Giants finished June 18-10, a .643 winning percentage. It was their first full calendar month with a winning record since June 2016, when they went 17-10 (.630 winning percentage). Incidentally, 2016 was also the last time the Giants made the playoffs. Between those two winning months -- from July 1, 2016, through May 31, 2018 -- the Giants went 127-172, a .425 winning percentage that was third worst in the majors in that span (behind the Reds and White Sox). -- Langs


17. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 42-41
Week 12 ranking: 21

The Rays are in the midst of an unexpected stretch of success. After a five-game winning streak against the Yankees and Nationals, the Rays beat Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole on back-to-back nights. The pitching staff has a 1.39 ERA and has allowed two runs or fewer in eight of Tampa Bay's past nine games since June 22. The Rays will look to carry this momentum into upcoming matchups against the Marlins, Mets and Tigers, teams with a combined .354 winning percentage in June. -- McCarthy


18. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 40-43
Week 12 ranking: 17

Gregory Polanco broke out in June with a .306 average, 10 extra-base hits and 16 RBIs for the Pirates. Among 217 players with at least 75 plate appearances in June, he was one of 16 with an OPS north of 1.000. Polanco was more patient, as well, registering 13 walks to 16 strikeouts in June, a 1.2 K/BB ratio, after holding a 1.9 K/BB ratio through the end of May. He did more damage on pitches in the zone, as well, hitting .362 against such pitches in June (.283 through May). -- McCarthy


19. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 39-44
Week 12 ranking: 20

Marcus Stroman's 0-5 record and 7.71 ERA through seven starts were his worst to open a season in his career. After missing more than a month, Stroman returned on June 23 and has looked sharp in two outings. Increased deception with his off-speed pitches contributed to his 0.75 ERA over those two starts. Hitters chased 39 percent of his non-fastball pitches out of the zone in those starts after Stroman was able to extend the zone just 27 percent of the time through his first seven starts. -- McCarthy


20. Minnesota Twins

Record: 35-45
Week 12 ranking: 19

Twins pitching had an abysmal week, allowing at least six runs in five games. Minnesota's bullpen had a game to forget Saturday against the Cubs, allowing 10 runs in four innings. Believe it or not, it was the second time this season Minnesota's bullpen allowed 10 runs in a game. The Twins are the only team in MLB to have multiple games in which their bullpen allowed at least 10 runs this season. -- Woolums


21. Colorado Rockies

Record: 41-43
Week 12 ranking: 16

Colorado started June with a 30-26 record and a 1½-game lead in the NL West. But now the Rockies have a losing record and find themselves six games back in the division. Most concerning, perhaps, is the fact that the Rockies sent Jon Gray -- their starter last year in the wild-card game -- to Triple-A after yet another subpar outing. He has a 5.77 ERA in 17 starts. -- Casella


22. Texas Rangers

Record: 38-47
Week 12 ranking: 23

June finally provided some bright spots for the Rangers. Not only did they finish the month with a winning record (14-11), but Shin-Soo Choo reached base in every game he played in for the club. Choo has reached base safely in 42 consecutive games dating back to May, the longest streak in the majors this season. The longest single-season streak in franchise history is 46 games by Julio Franco in 1993. -- Casella


23. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 36-48
Week 12 ranking: 24

Perhaps nobody on the Reds had a better week than reliever Michael Lorenzen. He hit a home run in three straight at-bats and became the first pitcher to hit a pinch-hit grand slam since Tommy Byrne on May 16, 1953, for the White Sox. He's another contributor to an offense that features the NL leader in batting average (Scooter Gennett, .332), OBP (Joey Votto, .433) and RBIs (Eugenio Suarez, 61). -- Woolums


24. San Diego Padres

Record: 37-49
Week 12 ranking: 25

A nice sign for the Padres was the turnaround of Manuel Margot. After early-season struggles saw him hitting under .200 as late as May 23, Margot hit .309 and led the team with a .872 OPS in June. Notably, Margot has seen his walk rate increase from 6.0 percent through May to 10.0 percent over the past month, and his strikeout rate dropped from 20 percent to 12 percent. -- Nitzberg


25. Detroit Tigers

Record: 37-48
Week 12 ranking: 22

The Tigers snapped an 11-game losing streak Sunday. It was the longest losing streak of any team this season and the team's longest losing streak since losing 11 in a row in 2003, when they finished 43-119. Their latest losing streak included a four-game sweep by the A's. Detroit has now lost nine consecutive games against the A's, their longest such streak since losing 10 in a row to the Philadelphia Athletics in 1931. -- Nitzberg


26. New York Mets

Record: 33-48
Week 12 ranking: 26

It was not a banner month for the Mets. They went 5-21, a .192 winning percentage that was the third lowest in a calendar month in franchise history (minimum 20 games). The only times they've had worse months? August 1982 (.172 win percentage) and July 1963 (.138). They hit .210 for the month, worst in the National League and second worst in the majors behind the Royals. -- Langs


27. Miami Marlins

Record: 34-51
Week 12 ranking: 27

The Marlins broke even in June, going 14-14. One key part of that turnaround has been Kyle Barraclough's development into a late-game stopper. Since May 11, Barraclough has notched seven saves while running off a streak of 20⅔ scoreless innings. In that time, he has allowed just nine of 70 batters to reach base, just two of them on hits. His combo of mid-90s heat and a solid slider makes him a premium trade target. -- Kahrl


28. Chicago White Sox

Record: 29-54
Week 12 ranking: 28

Matt Davidson continues to provide memorable moments in an otherwise forgettable season for the Sox. It started on Opening Day when he joined an exclusive club by slugging three homers. Less than a month later, he recorded back-to-back multihomer games. Forget about his bat, though -- on Friday, he tossed a scoreless inning and even picked up a strikeout in his first career pitching appearance. He followed it up with another home run the next night. -- Casella


29. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 24-59
Week 12 ranking: 29

Despite having a premier offensive talent in their lineup in Manny Machado, the Orioles remain one of the league's worst offenses. Baltimore holds a league-low .227 average, and they have scored just 3.67 runs per game, third worst in baseball. The Orioles have four losing streaks of at least seven games this season, the most by any team in baseball. Additionally, they are the only team in baseball with a sub-.500 record in games when they hit multiple home runs. -- McCarthy


30. Kansas City Royals

Record: 25-58
Week 12 ranking: 30

The Royals are on pace for the worst winning percentage in franchise history and just had one of the worst months -- if not the worst month -- in franchise history. The Royals set low watermarks in batting average (.193), OBP (.253) and OPS (.556) for a month. The Royals are the first AL team to bat under .200 in a month since the Tigers hit .182 in March/April of 2003, a season in which they lost 119 games. -- Nitzberg